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Remembering Pat Hays and Buddy Villines (Editorial)

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Two of central Arkansas’ “three amigos” died this month, Patrick Henry Hays, former North Little Rock mayor, and Floyd “Buddy” Villines, former Pulaski County judge. Their deaths leave only former Little Rock Mayor Jim Dailey as a member of the trio who earned the sobriquet “three amigos” because of their willingness to overcome city and county rivalries and partner to work on behalf of the region as a whole.

Among their collective accomplishments are the rebirth of the downtowns of both cities, the development of what is now Simmons Bank Arena, the expansion of the Statehouse Convention Center, the creation of the area’s trail systems, including the Big Dam Bridge, and the merger of the Little Rock Municipal Water Works and the North Little Rock Water Department to form Central Arkansas Water.

Both Hays and Villines were described as visionaries, people who could see beyond the limitations of what is to what could be. But they were more than visionaries, because they worked to make their visions realities that now benefit all Arkansans.

They were also willing to put aside their egos. Hays “would find a way to not worry about his ego and get things done,” Villines said of his friend. And Sharon Priest, former Little Rock mayor and former secretary of state, said of Villines that he “didn’t care about getting credit,” adding, “He did things because he felt that it was the right thing to do, and he didn’t care who got the credit as long as it got done.”

Remarkable qualities. Remarkable men.

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